Well, Evo 2019 has come and gone and the fighting game community has had its fill of exciting news. However, as much as I class myself as a fighting game devout, I must admit that I was a bit tardy on keeping up with all of the announcements from the event. I kind of like it that way though. I could have stuck with a live Twitter feed or whatever but there’s something about gorging on ALL of the news in one go post-event.
So yes, lots of exciting stuff was shown but there was one reveal that made me sit up and take notice: the immediate return of Cassandra Alexandra to the Stage of History in Soulcalibur VI!
Pre-release, I made a post listing the characters that I’d most like to see return for SCVI and Cassandra was on that list. In fact, she is the fourth character from that list (counting the honourable mentions section) to make the cut, following in the footsteps of Seong-Mina, Tira and Zasalamel so I think that I’m doing quite well here with regards to my wants list.
The best thing about that Evo 2019 announcement was that we only had to wait a matter of days to gain access to Sophitia’s spunky lil’ sister. Being late to the Evo newsfeed meant that Cassandra was already available so I immediately put the game disc back in my PS4 and updated it, once again thankful for owning the season pass that came out of the otherwise rubbish Collector’s Edition.
First impressions: Cassandra is really fun to play with. I’ve always “mained” Sophitia throughout the series and can’t say that I’ve ever sunk much time into her sister but I can already tell that her moveset has been much overhauled. Nevertheless, she retains her more aggressive, beatdown style of play. I also really dig her Critical Edge attack and haven’t yet tired of the animation. Additionally, I think I appreciate her sassy and self-confident personality a lot more than I have in previous installments. She’s just a lot of fun, especially in her all-new story mode chapter that the development team went to the trouble of creating.
[I’m also a sucker for another buxom blonde sporting notably bouncy physics. Seriously, SCVI gives DOA a run for its money with certain characters, Cassandra most certainly included…]
Cassandra aside, SCVI is going to keep on giving thanks to the announcement of a second season of DLC which promises four more characters and even more creation parts. What’s more, one of those characters is going to be Haohmaru from SNK’s Samurai Shodown series! It’s a perfect crossover of franchises from different companies and one that I have often wished for in the past.
More importantly, this is DLC done RIGHT. I tend to hammer SCVI then shelve it to play something else (currently: Yakuza 0) but I will be straight back on it as soon as new content is released. It’s keeping me playing the game and – as far as we can see anyway – it isn’t cynical DLC conceived pre-release and held back. All of the new characters that have been released thus far are faithful to previous iterations for example, but have been heavily updated gameplay-wise so it is clear that effort and love is being put into SCVI by the development team. Yes, I didn’t have to intentionally buy my season pass but I will 100% be purchasing the pass for the second season on the strength of how well the game has been supported post-release so far.
My faith in Project Soul has been well and truly restored after the disaster that was Soulcalibur V and I am still so impressed with VI as you can tell by the way I’m banging on about it here as if it’s the second coming. The gameplay, the character roster and the general feel were all so well-realised this time around and that’s before taking into account the post-launch support that I’ve just been talking about.
As far as I am concerned, you can keep Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 because Soulcalibur VI is the most enjoyable fighting game of the generation and just a real success story that speaks to the fans. The only other fighting game that comes close this gen for me is The King of Fighters XIV for pretty much the same reasons: fantastic gameplay, enjoyable DLC, spot-on legacy respect and plenty of content right out of the gate.
I can’t wait to see what comes next and that enthusiasm isn’t always in abundant supply when you’ve been gaming for over twenty years so I know that this game is doing something extremely right.